Marijuana Stores Listed as ‘Essential Businesses’ in L.A. During California’s Coronavirus Shutdown

By Staff | March 20, 2020 | 9:57am EDT
People stand in line to get into a cannabis dispensary in Los Angeles on Jan. 2, 2018. (Getty Images/David McNew)
People stand in line to get into a cannabis dispensary in Los Angeles on Jan. 2, 2018. (Getty Images/David McNew)

( - Los Angeles County, California, has listed “cannabis dispensaries”—retail stores that sell pot to the public—as “essential businesses” that can remain open under a legal order that requires most businesses to shut down and citizens to stay in their homes.

“To further combat the spread of COVID-19, Mayor Eric Garcetti has issued a ‘Safer at Home’ emergency order—ordering all residents of the City of Los Angeles to stay inside their residences, and immediately limit all movement outside their homes beyond what is absolutely necessary to take care of essential needs,” says a fact sheet on the order that Los Angeles posted online.

“This is a legally enforceable order,” says the fact sheet. “It is against the law to violate this Order, and you may be punished by a fine or imprisonment for doing so.”

The order went into effect at midnight on Thursday and is currently scheduled to last until April 19.

“The following essential activities,” says the fact sheet, “will remain open: … Cannabis dispensaries, or any related and/or ancillary healthcare services.”

The text of the actual order that Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti issued states

“(vii) Essential Activities Exempt. Certain business operations and activities are exempt from the provisions of this Order, on the grounds that they provide services that are recognized to be critical to the health and well-being of the City. These include: … cannabis dispensaries, or any related and/or ancillary healthcare services, manufacturers and suppliers.”

The website of the California state “Bureau of Cannabis Control” includes a timeline on the legalization of marijuana in that state. It says: “November 2016: California voters approved Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA). Under Proposition 64, adults 21 years of age or older can legally grow, possess, and use cannabis for non-medical purposes, with certain restrictions. Additionally, AUMA also made it legal to sell and distribute cannabis through a regulated business as of January 1, 2018."


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